Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sketching Tangent Lines

A post based on my responses at the Autodesk Forum: Tangent Circle to Tangent Circle.

It could be easier...

I see Revit behaving this way, they regard the first point as ineligible to being tangent because it depends on the bearing of the line, With that assumption or bias, the first point is necessary to make a tangent condition possible. I can easily snap to a location on the circle (a pulley for example) that couldn't be tangent to the next pulley.

AutoCAD deals with this in a clever fashion (when we invoke the tangent snap) by fixing (changing) the first point to be tangent after the second point is placed. If we aren't careful with our second pick point (snap tangent too) the tangent line might end up on the opposite side of the pulley.

In contrast, Revit handles it naively, because it regards our first point as ineligible to tangents because it isn't considering this particular end result: "I want to draw a line tangent to two circles". AutoCAD appears to know this by virtue of snapping tangent for the first point so it can adjust the final bearing, and attachment to the circle, of the line.

To get around this naiveté, I place the first point on the pulley where it looks like it can be tangent, to my eye. The second point snaps to tangent with the icon. I return to the first point and grip/drag it away and back to let the snap icon appear, to fix it for tangent, just to see if I was close. If my guess wasn't accurate, it is now.

After reading a reply to my comments I did a quick sketch in AutoCAD and then did the same sketch in Revit using the same pulley sizes and offset from one another (see Footnote). The tangent lines have the same x/y properties for start and end as the AutoCAD version, that I made using its snap tangent.

This is the native DWG sketch and properties screen captures for each element.

This is same information but for the Revit drafting view exported to DWG. When I create an External Reference of the exported Revit drafting view it lands right on top of the native sketch. If you look really closely you'll see a value is slightly different in the Revit version. I think that might be my fault, sketching. Regardless, I think close enough is fair.

Footnote: Regarding a drafting view aligning with a DWG file after export: It might not be obvious but drafting views have an origin. To test that claim link a DWG, that has a marker at the WCS origin, into one and you'll see where the origin is. I did that before I did any sketching so I'd know how to place the pulleys in the same place. That made it possible to compare the tangent lines after exporting it to DWG.

Also the Start and End X/Y values are reversed. That's either just how Revit interprets the vector of each line segment or it's because of the direction I chose to sketch them in Revit. In AutoCAD I started at the smaller pulley. I didn't make sure to sketch in the same way in Revit, sloppy scientist.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dimension Inline and Dynamo

(Edit: If you download and apply an update to his Rhythm package after 1/17/2018 you'll have this node too)

From time to time I've heard people ask about putting the dimension value on the line (inline) instead of above the dimension line the way Revit prefers. The only way we can do it within Revit is to manually grip and drag the dimension value down to the line.

More recently I read a thread at the Autodesk Forum asking about this. The premise in their situation is that it is a significant roadblock to using Revit for one of their client's projects, it doesn't meet their drawing standard unless the dimensions are inline.

I was trading messages with Aaron Maller and mentioned it to him. Aaron was trading messages with John Pierson and a few minutes later I learned it is possible with Dynamo and a custom node. This morning he shared this with me, as well as replying to the thread. Nicely done John! We are sooo connected these days.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

How Often to Synchronize with Central - SwC

Grist from a recent support conversation..."How often should we use Synchronize with Central (SwC)? We have some users doing it every minute."

Well....every minute seems a bit much...but...

The number of people actively working on a file affects the truth of the statement too. Every 30 minutes, for example, is too infrequent in my opinion. My own habit is to SwC as often as I complete any given task. I tend to take small bites, tasks that are 1-10 minutes, and SwC as soon as they are done.

More frequent SwC is less data transmission than every 30 minutes, potentially. Replacing or reloading a title block for 1,000 sheets is not a small task and probably ought to be done at lunch, advising people to create new local files afterward. Otherwise each sync will need to needlessly update each local file's copy of the sheet's title block too, for everyone. If that is done while they are all away they just inherit the new version of the project with their new local file.

It's all relative though because the transaction comparison between syncing that kind of change and closing a model and opening it later is subtle. In fact opening a file again might be slower, but reasonable, depending on how many people are involved. It can be justified though, especially if they are out of the project anyway such as out for lunch or after hours etc.

I think it is more important to be aware of other users also using SwC, than imposing a specific time requirement. When more than one person uses SwC at the same time Revit has to parse those changes and it does so, more or less, in a single threaded manner, not like a multi-thread OS (though they are improving that all the time) doing simultaneous tasks. It has to reconcile changes and move to others once it is satisfied it can finish successfully. The more people forcing Revit to do that at the same time the slower it gets for everyone. That's where the advice to schedule or increase the time between SwC came from. One client decided to build their own tool so users can see if someone is syncing. A button on their Quick Access Toolbar parked next to the SwC button is red when someone is syncing and green when nobody is. Green means go for it.

Any sort of "Every 30 minutes" rule is often an over simplification, a rule meant to be easy to implement. In practice it can be just as harmful as helpful. If I slip and go 60 minutes or longer then that starts to slow down SwC times for everyone else too. Pushing and pulling data through a pipe takes time, smaller chunks of data generally take less time and less time to reconcile with the model too.

I'd focus on developing awareness of other users syncing as the priority and it's increasingly important the more users that are working on the same project file.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Revit Coordinate Systems Video

A lengthy exchange at Autodesk's User Forums about this subject reminded me that I've meant to create a short video to describe how they relate to each other for quite awhile. This morning I saw our cutting boards drying next to the sink and realized they could serve as metaphorical coordinate system planes (Project and Survey) work in Revit. I am curious if readers find it helpful.

The original post at the forum dealt with a few projects that had been modelled very far from Revit's Internal Origin/Startup Location. I looked at one of the project files and found the Survey Point and Project Base Point had been moved very far away while unclipped. The modelling started there, really far far away. They started to experience some of the negative symptoms that can occur and started looking for solutions...thus the original post. The short answer is they needed to move their model closer to the origin. No other way around it.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Consulting Work - December and January Schedule

I've been very fortunate over the years to find project delays, postponement or cancellations easy to deal with. This year each of those things have happened at the same time. As such I'm putting it out there that, to use the phrase from the very British TV show "Are You Being Served?", "Mr. Stafford are you free? Why yes I'm Free!"

I'd be pleased to hear about training, implementation, modelling ...anything Revity...that I can help with! Just send me an EMAIL.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Really hoping this isn't indicative of a cycle returning...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Link DWG and Named UCS

Working through a couple support issues recently it turned out that the presence of a Named UCS prevented us from linking a DWG using By Shared Coordinates. Revit would force the DWG to link using Center to Center instead. We tried all the things to resolve it first until we remembered to check this too.

This has been a part of Revit for a long time, the "REVIT60" in the name is the Revit version when it first appeared, Revit 6.0. When we use Publish Coordinates on a DWG file Revit creates this UCS so it can be used from within AutoCAD to ensure any external references that need to align with it will do so. We can delete the Named UCS in AutoCAD by right-clicking on the name.

We have more than one site related DWG for each project to align within Revit. We used Acquire Coordinates on our benchmark file. When all the related DWG files share the same WCS origin we can tell Revit to use By Shared Coordinates when linking them.

An obtuse but factually correct message appears telling us the files don't share coordinates.

Aligning the file based on its WCS is precisely what we want so each of the files align in Revit, possible, again, because we used Acquire Coordinates on the benchmark file first. That aligned the Shared Coordinates with it so the other files could stack on top of each other properly when we linked them.

There are many subtle things that can affect the linking process with DWG files, add this to the pile.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mr. Revit OpEd at The Whiskey a Go Go

This provides ample distraction from writing as much as I used to. I can hit ALL the THINGS!!

Yes, I've been earnestly playing the drums again. When I moved to California the three piece band (Angry Neighbors) I had been part of for roughly ten years found themselves without a drummer. They've kept themselves busy since, most recently as part of a group they call Harmonic Dirt.

For many years steady travel for work made it impractical for me to be part of a band here. I haven't needed to travel nearly as much for the last couple of years and I realized I could make it work. So far so good.

Last May I joined a band called Parker Street Gypsies. It is led by and features songs written by Michelle Kasajian (vocals/guitar). Armando "Mondo" Lopez (guitar/vocals) contributes songs as well. Add in Charlie Peck (bass guitar) and yours truly to provide the foundation and we make four. We've been rehearsing regularly working toward playing in front of people more often. Our first time out was at the O.C. County Fair.

Our next gig is THIS Saturday, December 2nd at The Whiskey a Go Go.

We open for The Baby's, a favorite 70's band of mine (and many others)!! I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing them as well hoping to meet their drummer Tony Brock. His playing was/is a strong influence on my own approach to the drums. I think my favorite album is Union Jacks but I tend to waffle on favorite anything.

Believe it or not, there are FIVE bands leading up to The Baby's performance Saturday night; they are: Parker Street Gypsies (us), Alinea, Nation of Salvation, Union of Saints, and Kirk Randall & the Back Beat. We play last but just before The Baby's set.

Despite what you may read or hear live music is still out there waiting for you to experience/enjoy. Musicians are still struggling, as ever, to satisfy their muse and play for you/us, no matter how much the business has changed.

If you are in the LA area and looking for something to do on Saturday night we'd love to have your support. The Whiskey is an all-ages club, as well as being a famous venue for music historically.

We love to rock!

P.S. At the recent Autodesk University several of us musician types got together one evening after the primary events had wrapped up. We played some tunes at a local rental studio, some were planned in advance and many others weren't. Some turned out pretty well and others...well it was fun to play...

The AU Band consisted of: Robert Green (guitar,vocals), Guillermo Melantoni-Cortabarria (bass guitar, vocals), Steven Shell (guitar,vocals), Shaun Bryant (vocals), Kate Morrical (vocals), Jim Balding (Cowbell-aka Whiskey bottle) and Kelly Cone (vocals)..oh and me. This is a nice shot of Jim Balding helping Steven Shell play guitar or vice versa.

We didn't have a cowbell so JB made do with a Four Roses whiskey bottle that somebody conveniently emptied so it could be used. This was my second year playing with them, good fun!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Phases are Deleted - Electrical Issue - Cancel placing a wire

A client shared this issue with me a couple of weeks ago and Autodesk has acknowledged it as a bug. If you've already installed 2018.1 it has been patched, so the scary bit that follows has been dealt with.

The issue: Place the first node of a wire and then cancel (press ESC key for example) before placing the second node. Afterward, people find that their project's Phases are no longer available. In other words, the phases are not listed in the Phasing dialog box nor in the Phase parameter for elements, when examining the Properties palette. Also, the buttons that allow us to create new phases are disabled in the Phases dialog.

Bad bug! Fixed in version 2018.1.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fixture Units don't Update

I read a post at RFO that said the value for Fixture Units added up along a pipe run were correct at the pipe (in properties) but that tags attached to those pipes did not report a matching value. My first thought was that the system's Calculations parameter was assigned to something other than Flow. So I mocked up a quick test (using version - 20170907_2315(x64) - 2018.1.1). Three families, two with the same Fixture Units assigned and one rogue.

I changed the middle fixture to be the same as the outer two and the pipe properties responded, the tag didn't (2nd from left). I took a look at the Calculations parameter for the Sanitary Piping System. This is using a stock Imperial Plumbing template. It's already set to Flow.

I switched it to None, clicked Apply, and the tags responded with this (Performance does the same).

I changed it back to Flow, clicked Apply, and the tags responded again but now they report the correct values.

I thought that there might have been a subtle change within the Mechanical and/or Piping settings that I missed when Revit 2018 arrived. I don't think there is though.

If you're counting on Fixture Units being added up and reported correctly in tags, you'll need to keep an eye on this. I've been able to wake up the tags by toggling between Calculation Settings for the Pipe System.

Added: Temporarily adding a pipe or altering the connected pipes also cause the tags to wake up. Also, just to make things stranger, changing the fixtures again I find the information displayed in properties of the pipe does not respond either, nor does a schedule of Pipes. However, if I have a Piping Systems schedule that does update as changes to fixtures are made.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Book - Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit

A team of authors led by Bill East (COBie inventor) has finished a book dedicated to COBie and Revit. His team consists of: Shawn O'Keeffe, Richard Kenna and Emma Hooper.

Bill writes:
"This is the first comprehensive COBie How-To Guide! We explain the implications of COBie requirements on your professional standard-of-care. Next, we describe the architectural and engineering design best-practices we adopted to help us capture COBie as part of our standard design process. We show you how to unlock the power of the Revit COBie Extension and Classification Manager Add-Ins to automate COBie file production details. And we show you how to share your new found knowledge with your team, company, and stakeholders."
David Philp, Global BIM Director, AECOM reviewed the book and had this to say:
"This book offers a comprehensive and real-world insight to the COBie value proposition but most importantly it demonstrates HOW this can be practically achieved. This book is an essential read for anyone that is interested in effectively capturing and using project information. If you want to better understand how to deliver COBie from a Revit environment then this book is a must.”
David Light, Autodesk Senior Customer Success Manager also reviewed the book and said this:
"Finally, the AEC industry and the Revit user has an unparalleled guide for helping you understand, as well as deliver COBie from Autodesk Revit!

Delivering COBie should not be scary, as noted, the guidance provided in “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit'” is designed to help AEC industry deliver COBie on any building, as easily as possible.

East and the authoring team provide a detailed history of COBie, so you understand the background of why COBie? It helps demystify some urban myths around COBie, allowing you to better understand the value of this industry standard digital exchange format. The book runs through best practice tips for model development, model configuration and data preparation for Autodesk Revit.

The guide leads the user onto the configuration of the free Classification Manager and the COBie Extension. Lastly, 'Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit' teaches the reader how to apply various concepts on a Dormitory Project example, through shared best practice from recognized industry experts, explaining how to prepare the Revit model for repeatable COBie deliverables."
The authors of “Delivering COBie Using Autodesk Revit,” Dr. Bill East, Dr. Shawn O’Keeffe, Richard Kenna, and Emma Hooper look forward to showing you how to make COBie an integral part of the standard design process for yourself and your team, company, and stakeholders. The pre-release spiral-bound “workbook edition” is now available for individual Revit users. The version for purchase by libraries, institutes, and companies available 15-Sep-17.

You can Order your Copy HERE.

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Kingdom for a Dimension...or Two...Three

A Friday thought...

I've spent the last couple years doing a lot more modelling work than I expected to do. If you asked me in years before I'd have told you 80-90% percent of my time was dedicated to training and implementation activities.

Much of the modelling I do these days is from the contractor's point of view, for them. I quite enjoy it. I learn a lot and it keeps me on my toes.

This work is requested often because the documents they are using are not created from models to begin with. Sometimes they are but they (the contractor) have to build based on drawings so they find it informative to attempt to build things in the computer before doing it in the field. Where have I heard that notion before?

Chief among the things that trouble me doing so is the lack of dimensions. If there are lots of dimensions then the issue is their message or rather the lack of clear intent.

All too often I find a slab edge plan is lacking that one dimension, between adjacent slabs for example, that I could really use. In other instances the decision to start plotting the dimensions is based on a datum that involves a fussy site related angle (like based on a property line); when other orthogonal options are available.

I've also seen far more effort and devotion applied to dimensions for parking stripes in a parking garage than for the structural elements that make it possible to paint those stripes eventually. Then you have the dimension value bust. Such as, setting out the building grids reveals a subtle mathematical inconsistency or outright typographical error or override.

Then there are the dimensions that describe how to place something relative to other elements that get installed later during construction. How do we place a concrete column by referencing interior partitions...when those dimensions don't relate back to grids or structural elements? That issue is both missing dimensions and logical progression.

Often I have to endure the game of look over there, as if a hockey puck is getting smacked back and forth, when one says look at those guy's drawing for more information and then the other says the reverse. Slab edges that are required to overlap (per nearly matching details) are a real chore to sort out when you have to flip back and forth constantly and double check against the reflected ceiling plans...oops they're inconsistent with the plans...note to generate an email...

Then there are arcs. Thanks for all the radius and diameter information. Could I get dimensions for their endpoint locations and chord height/width? Better still, could I get something that tells me where their origins are supposed to be? Yes I do realize that one or two might be located somewhere on the outskirts of town. Then again if doing so exposes that issue up front when they are sketched, maybe we could get some other localized notion of how to place them on site too?

Though I've rarely encountered it in real life, I've really learned to appreciate the my documents stand on their own philosophy. In other words, a structural set of documents could be used in isolation to build all the the structural elements required, correctly, even if the rest of the work never got funded. It IS harder to do because it requires concerted effort to coordinate the disciplines well.

Yes I know, it's complicated, building stuff is messy. Now that I mention it, have you noticed, like me, that those ugly fractions people don't like seeing on drawings still crop up everywhere in real life.

Ah well, enough complaining. I've got some slab edges to reconcile. Back to grumbling to myself again. May we all enjoy a dimensionally accurate weekend!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Clipped or Un-clipped - That is the Question

The question asked: "Steve, should we leave our coordinate system icons clipped or un-clipped?"

My Answer: As we know, the Project Base Point (PBP) and Survey Point (SP) can be un-clipped. If they are untouched we'll find them clipped.

When these are clipped the symbols for each of these are attached to the coordinate systems they belong to. That means moving either while clipped will alter the coordinate system. If this is done unintentionally, or by someone who does not realize they have been adjusted intentionally already, the coordinate system(s) will be changed.

Therefore I'd say it is not unreasonable to leave these in their NOT clipped or un-clipped state at all times, especially after they have been adjusted intentionally to align models or survey data. If they are not clipped then accidental movement of these icons do not alter their related coordinate systems. It merely changes the symbol's position relative to their coordinate systems.

I regard these symbols as markers or annotation when they are not clipped. In this state they are harmless to our coordinate machinations. Clipped they pose a danger to our careful adjustments to align models and site information.

My opinion: Keep them Not clipped, un-clipped.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Shared Coordinates - Autodesk Reference Information

It's September posts in August...time flies.

This post is brief, merely a referral. If you struggle with understanding Revit's coordinate system then THIS LINK, at Autodesk's Knowledge Base (KB) site for this subject might be helpful. I like the images and some of explanations or interpretations it offers.

Check it out, it may help!

Edit: I wrote this on Sept. 7th originally, received an unflattering comment about it, returned it to draft, revised it, and restored it to published on Sept. 14th.

I was lazy. I thought the information was an addition to their formal help documentation. When I saw the comment I read through the KB article again and realized that it was written by an Autodesk User Group member and submitted to their Knowledge Base system, which happens to be curated by different people than the product documentation group. I might quibble with some subtlety of it here or there but its approach may help someone get a grasp on the bigger picture. Just keep in mind that its claims are not gospel, nor written by Autodesk's own people.

Friday, July 14, 2017

20 Mile Threshold on Import

This is a follow up to my earlier post this week regarding the 20 mile threshold. A comment to that post mentioned that the governing extent is equivalent to a 10 mile radius sphere whose origin is at 0,0,0. In my own testing I've observed the threshold is more closely defined as a cube.

This image is a 10 mile radius sphere with a line segment that travels beyond the edges of the sphere but within the boundary that a cube would have.

You can see the highlighted square is the extent of the DWG file and line extends outside of the sphere at each end but is still inside the boundary of where a cube would lie instead.

This image is the same file but the line is altered to extend beyond the edge of the sphere/cube extent.

This is the message that appears when I reloaded the file after altering the line's extent.

The warning can be avoided if we ensure that the DWG file doesn't have any elements that extend beyond the 20 mile cube (10 mile radius). The cube can be quite far from the origin of the DWG file but nothing can be outside the cube's boundary.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Reset Shared Coordinates Update

During April 2012 I wrote about using a separate file as a diversionary tactic to allow us to reacquire coordinates from a model we used Acquire Coordinates on before; now that it has changed and no longer lines up with our own work.

In the years since that post Revit seems to have decided it should remember more than one file has had the Acquire Coordinates tool used on it. Revit used to be monogamous but that's no longer true.

The reset process is still necessary but an extra step is required now: we must deliberately disable the link's Shared Site setting first.

Usually it is necessary to move the linked file to align with ours and so its new position can be reacquired. If the setting isn't disabled first it will trigger Revit's desire to change the Shared Coordinate system of the link. Keep in mind that Acquire Coordinates is a pull transaction but moving a file that is sharing coordinates causes Revit to think it must push that change out to the related file. If that's what is really needed then consider using Publish Coordinates instead.

Select the linked file and in the Properties Palette click the Shared Site button (by default says Internal unless someone has changed the name). In the Choose Site dialog that appears click the radio button for Do not share site of selected instance.

It should say <Not Shared> like in the image above after choosing that option. It should be possible to move the linked file into the desired position so it lines up with our model correctly again. If it works correctly you won't get a warning to save the changes to the link nor will you get prompted to do so when you save the file.

It is now possible to link a Reset File to use the Acquire Coordinates on. As soon as that is done successfully the original linked file can be used to Acquire Coordinates again, from it instead.

If the disabling step was not taken we'd find that Revit remembers it has a shared coordinate relationship with both files, the original link and the reset file. Examining properties for both linked files would reveal a Shared Site setting in play (Internal) for both.

However, Shared Coordinates and its Survey Point only acts according to the last file Acquire Coordinates was used on regardless how many files Revit is keeping track of. Trying to use Acquire Coordinates on either file in this condition will just generate this warning.

It's almost as if Revit is treating using Acquire Coordinates like a marriage and keeping a record of each marriage, regardless how many divorces the file goes through. I'd recommend it moves on, focus only on the active marriage and make that work.

To recap - if you find your shared coordinate relationship has failed you'll want a divorce. Then you'll fall for someone else quickly, on a rebound, only to discover that your previous love was the best. Just remember you need to get a lawyer involved to disable your first marriage before you start your rebound. This way you'll legally be able to get married again when you come to your senses.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Revit 2018 - GEO Reference and Shared Coordinates

I replied to a thread at RFO that asked about Revit 2018 touting support for AutoCAD's GEO Reference feature.

On the surface, there is no obvious difference between how things worked in 2017 (or older versions) compared with 2018. Over the years you may have noticed that the Location Dialog, the one that allows you use a map to locate your project did not do anything at all related to the Shared Coordinate system. All that action did was provide a way for Revit to; originally calculate sun position (and therefore shadows) more believably and more recently to allow for energy analysis estimation to be done. Revit 2018, assuming the source DWG file is using AutoCAD's GEO Referencing feature, it is possible for Revit to inherit this data to affect not only the Location (Sun and Energy Analysis) but also the coordinate location of the project (Shared Coordinates).

The thread at RFO also asks about the 20 mile threshold Revit has regarding model size and warning us about model accuracy. The following is a restatement of things I've written in the past. Specifically they asked if there was any change to this in 2018. There isn't that I know of. I included the following to superficially explain the reason it exists.

The 20 mile threshold is a math and computer science problem that Revit developers choose not to lie to us about. They want us to keep the model as close to the file's mathematical origin as possible. External files (and internal modelling) that have data whose extents are larger than 20 miles begin to influence the accuracy of the calculations required to generate and display the model faithfully.

More often than not a civil file is not really larger than 20 miles. It just has elements that are farther away from the origin than that. Revit doesn't mind that issue and it doesn't mind assigning very large coordinates values to the shared coordinate origin (Survey Point).

It only cares when there are elements that are beyond the threshold. For example a file that only has two short line segments that are 30 miles apart will cause a warning. A file with an entire set of contour lines 40 miles away from the origin won't cause an error IF all the contours themselves and other annotation don't cause the extent of elements to also be larger than the 20 mile threshold. Distance from the origin is one aspect and the total extent (X,Y AND Z) of the elements in the file is the other.

Ultimately, the error appears because they want us to know that this external data could negatively affect the accuracy of what we work with inside Revit.

I wrote THIS POST to discuss how I deal with survey files that violate the threshold. It starts out with one issue (transparent elevations/sections) that occurs when the threshold is crossed.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Active View can Matter When Linking Using Positioning Auto - Center to Center

If you link a model via Positioning: Auto - Center to Center in a plan view its zero elevation will align with the host model's zero elevation.

Do that in an elevation or section view however and the linked model may not rest at the correct Zero elevation. The discrepancy man be very subtle or quite obvious. It will depend on the adjusted extents of the view that is active.

The trigger appears to be the elevation or section view being cropped very shallow (only one level visible) prior to linking the model (tested as far back as Revit 2015). If all the levels are visible in the view it seems to be more reliable.

Far safer me thinks to just link via a plan view, something to watch out for. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Navis 2018.1 Update and Autodesk Desktop App

I've had a few successes with AdA recently. It applied its own update and I've received a couple of notices for updates too. This morning I got such a message about Navisworks but when I attempted to install it it I was informed the digital signature couldn't be verified.

There didn't appear to be any way around this via AdA so I visited the Autodesk Portal for my account. I found the update at the top of the list so I downloaded and installed it successfully that way instead.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Recover or Acquire a Shared Parameter

I wrote THIS POST in January of 2012 but the interface has changed quite a bit since then. I happened to see a reference to the older post and realized how dated it is. I thought about replacing the screen captures to just update it then decided to echo the post with current pictures instead.

When you don't have access to the original Shared Parameter's file there are two ways to get to it, via a family or in a schedule. Either way you need to be able to touch the parameter so you can use the Export option for shared parameters. Revit will add the parameter to the current shared parameter file you are using.

In a family you need to open Family Types, select the parameter, choose the Edit Parameter button.

In a project schedule take a look at the View Properties for the schedule, Click the Edit... button next to Fields, pick the parameter, then click the Edit Parameter button (note the Export button in the next image is not active/enabled).

Click the Export button when it is enabled and Revit will pop open this confirmation. It also tells us where to look for it in the Shared Parameter file.

If the Export button (like in the previous image) is not active that happens because Revit is not associated with a shared parameter file yet or, less likely, the Shared Parameter is already in the Shared Parameter file this session of Revit is aware of. You’ll need to choose a different file or create a new file first. You can do this via the Manage Ribbon > Settings panel > Shared Parameters button, browse to find it or create one from scratch.

It is worth noting that a titleblock family does not conform to this scenario. Shared parameters that are used in titleblocks must be connected to a project too, by adding the shared parameter to the project as a project parameter and choosing the Sheets category. It might help to consider a titleblock is very much like a Tag except the element it tags is a sheet view, not a door or wall for example.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Insert From File and a Worksharing File

I bumped into a subtle conflict this evening. I created a new file from a stock template. I then used Insert from File > Insert Views from File to acquire a few drafting views. When I closed this new project and decided to open the file the harvested drafting views are stored in this message appeared.

Keep in mind that no files were actually open at the moment. I was looking at the Recent Files list yet when I attempted to create a new local file for the project I just used Insert From File on the message popped up. This means that the file is technically still open in RAM as far as Revit is concerned, it's just not open for me to interact with.

I had to exit Revit so it could relinquish its hold on the file before I could start Revit up again to get back to work.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Revit 2018 - Insert Ribbon Search Field is Removed

When Autodesk Seek gave up on their mission and handed it over to BIM Object Revit 2017 started to redirect us to that site instead whenever we did a search. Prior to that it would take us to Autodesk Seek.

Notice anything missing from the 2018 Insert Ribbon image above? Well the post title gave it away but the search field has been stripped off. Remember this following image from way back when?

I realize it didn't make sense to leave references to Autodesk Seek in play. Now it's even less helpful to find external content. I guess it's more incentive to install BIM Object's Revit app? Probably what they intended.

No you're not imagining things, it's gone gone gone...

-- EDITED 5/2/2017 --

I installed the BIM Object Revit app.

Holy smokes that's a heck of a ribbon for the primary button I really want, Browse on the far left. Note if you launch any of the tools you can't do any work back in Revit until you finish interacting with their app. If you find that frustrating you could just open a separate browser.

It would be nice if there were some user settings to reduce the number of buttons to just those you're likely to use. I added the browse button to the QAT to get around accessing the ribbon tab each time.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Autodesk Desktop App Up but Mostly Down

I was pleasantly surprised when Ada started working right after installing Revit 2018. It managed to work long enough to get most everything else installed. I wrote long enough because it attempted to apply FormIt updates for 2017 and 2018 yesterday and ended with failure to install messages.

No sign of Ada since and now I get a nice FormIt error when I launch Revit. I guess I'll just have to get along without it or Ada...until Revit 2019?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Panel Name - Allow Unique Values per Group

Some time ago they added the ability to tell Revit we want a parameter to be able to store unique values even when the element is part of a group, like this.

That example is possible because it's a shared parameter. I find myself wishing that we could do the same thing for the built-in Panel Name parameter for electrical panels. These are unique identifiers in all the situations I've ever encountered. Never mind the unfortunate poor support for being in groups to begin with...

I wish that Panel Name could be like a Door's Mark parameter or a Room's Number...unique even when included in groups. I wish upon a star...

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Smooth or Stepped Stair Setting

I want the concrete corner stair to look like this.

When I finished it looked like this.. sad face...

A stair Run has two options for Underside Surface: Smooth and Stepped. Smooth is what I started with.

There are occasions when I want the underside to look like the second image above, if so I'd probably tackle that like THIS POST. In this situation I wanted the following appearance. I got it by changing the Structural Depth parameter to match the height of the stair.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Edit Profile and Altering Base or Top Constraints

In this example I've got a veneer wall and I used the Edit Profile feature to alter its shape. I wanted it to go from the bottom of the building to the top but provide the overall opening it requires in the middle. As luck would have it the overall height has changed a little. The selected wall in the following image is one of several veneer wall segments. It needs to drop down by 6 inches.

All I need to do is edit the Top Offset parameter, changing it from 3'-6" to 3'-0". That was easy.

Unfortunately when I do that easy bit I notice the opening I created using Edit Profile has shifted down by the same 6 inches.

At this point I'd use Edit Profile and move that sketch segment back up to the proper location. Since I have several of these veneer walls to adjust; for one of them I accidentally used Edit Profile first. I decided to change the Top Offset parameter while I was there, noting that the sketch is still correct at the top of the window assembly.

When I finished Edit Profile I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sketch remained intact, the opening did not need to be altered. The Top Offset alteration took effect without changing the interior rectangle sketch like would have happened changing the parameter outside of the Edit Profile mode.

That was a pleasant thing to stumble into. For the remaining walls I just used Edit Profile first and changed the Top Offset parameter followed by finishing Edit Profile without having to adjust the sketch too.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Autodesk Desktop App - Sad Face

This so called application continues to disappoint. It has failed to let me know about any updates since installing Revit 2017...

Sad face...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Type Selector on Ribbon - Oops

I received quite a few comments on the last post. Most were pointing out that my powers of observation are failing me. It's a feature that has been in the product since at least 2011 according to one insider at Revit. Mea culpa!

Qualifies for Dept. of Subtle eh?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Revit 2017.1 - Type Selector on Modify Ribbon

Working with some new Revit users last week I noticed something strange happened to my interface and not theirs. I suddenly had a Type Selector on my Modify Ribbon tab, on its own ribbon panel.

I thought, "I don't remember that!" Then I thought, "It must be a new subtlety with Revit 2017.1 that I haven't noticed yet!" Looking at it again, once I remembered to be curious, I found that when I right-click on the Type Selector, in its long standing home on the Properties Palette, two options appear, the ribbon one being new. Those other users had Revit 2017 installed.

Now I don't see the What's New in Revit 2017.1 documentation page taking credit for this subtle change. I don't recall running into it while writing my What's New post for 2017 when that came out either, nor is it listed in that documentation section either when I scanned it again just in case.

I wrote strange happened earlier because I don't recall right-clicking and selecting that option unless I had a short term memory lapse. I suppose I might have been talking and clicking without looking, yeah I've done that while discussing a Revit feature plenty of times. What was I writing about? Oh...

Still I don't remember doing it. I also don't remember it being there all along since installing Revit 2017.1 in the first place and I'm pretty sure I've used it a lot since doing that. ...again with doubting my memory? I suppose it could just be the default location for the original install of the update and I just failed to notice it. I don't that's speaking well of my observation skills though. Well, never mind.

Don't worry about me, just take advantage of it if you like that as an available option too! Since Autodesk isn't claiming responsibility for it, who wants to?

Friday, February 03, 2017

Autodesk Seek is Dead - Long Live BIMobject

I've been busy, experiencing angst or lazy, you pick. Then again dear reader you may not have noticed that I haven't been posting as much lately. Apparently some readers are still hoping to be able to rely on me to try to stay current with things. At least that's what a few emails asking about this semi-recent change suggests to me. I do apologize if my reticence to post more often is disappointing. I have been busy as well as going through another spell of "What's it all about Alfie?". Oh I've given it away...or have I? (imagine Craig Ferguson was speaking).

Get on with it Mr. OpEd... At the moment the only place other than Autodesk sites that I recall reading information about this change is the Revit Add-Ons post on the day it happened, so well done Tim.

Specifically, you may have been, or will be, greeted by a message when attempting to search Autodesk Seek via Revit's Insert ribbon? The message begins with something like (I didn't capture the screen the first time) ..."As of January 18, 2017 Autodesk Seek has been transferred to BIMobject. At least I think the naming is BIMobject. It could be bimobjects because that's also on the site. I digress...yet again.

They've provided a transfer FAQ you can read but it's not really responding to any questions I have, as a user...UNLESS you are then careful to click the small link for User FAQ on the left side (link next paragraph).

I see they've set up a hotline for Autodesk Seek transition so look for that information there (via separate FAQ sections for User and BPM) too, it's the same telephone number for either category, user or BPM (Building Product Manufacturer).

I know nothing about BIM Object yet. I can say after arriving at their site via Revit once that the UI presented to us is a sight better than Seek. My first impression is that their customers are product manufacturers, selling the service of creating and hosting content for manufacturers, the same as for Autodesk Seek.

Assuming the somewhat jaundiced view of a Revit user, the user is the product they are selling to their customers, like Facebook for example. However attempting to be fair, users need good quality content to make quality building models so if these guys do well we BIM users ought to be winning.

Regarding my overall experience with Autodesk Seek, prompted by a post at RFO, I wrote this reply there a couple days ago, responding to Philip...(a bit more of the Opinion part of OpEd)

My own experience with Autodesk Seek began with hmm promising, let's see how this goes and ended with what's the point. If you consider RevitCity's content quality is ravaged pretty consistently by fellow Revit users, as such lately I have had the same dread reaction to resorting to searching Autodesk Seek. I even went there a couple times to pull down bad examples of content to show people I was mentoring on the subject...not a good recommendation eh? Inspiration for blog posts is one upside? Okay, getting snarkastic sorry.

My feelings changed sharply a short while after the Family Style Guide was published related to Seek. A great idea and initial effort but it was a bit plain to see the market/revenue generating bias of it toward Seek. ...and it too has died on the vine.

Overall, very disappointing. Especially considering I've heard it was no small investment of time and money by companies to get their content hosted by Seek. But then that's the secret about content it takes time and both involve money even if we don't look.

Back to BIMobject, I'm going to keep an open mind, more open than my obviously skeptical comments above suggests is possible. Let's see how this goes. Oh, I'll answer the question that's probably on any user's mind for them (from their User FAQ):

Do I have to pay for the BIM objects I download? is a free of charge web service for architects, engineers, specifiers and all other disciplines in the AEC and Infrastructure industries.

They offer a free Revit app to directly integrate their content search and access into Revit too.

Feel free to use comments to share your observations and experience with Autodesk Seek (in the past) or BIMobject if you've been a using their content already.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

View Reference User Experience Inequality

The View Reference feature reveals information differently according to how you access the feature. A post at RFO yesterday, and subsequent reply by pivoarch, made me see this subtlety finally.

When you create a new view and choose the Reference Other View option you get the sheet and detail number value (when the view is on a sheet) in the description in addition to the view name, like this.

When you want to fix or change a View Reference the sheet and detail number values are not presented to us, like this.

It would be very helpful to include the sheet and detail number values in every instance that it is displayed to us.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

New Command Reference Book for Revit Architecture - Daniel Stine and Jeff Hanson

Daniel Stine and Jeff Hanson have teamed up to create a new book called Autodesk Revit 2017 Architectural Command Reference book. The inclusion of the term architectural in the book title means it does not delve into the Systems ribbon tab commands.

It has 13 chapters: Introduction, Application Menu and User Interface, Architecture Tab, Structure Tab, Insert Tab, Annotate Tab, Analyze Tab, Massing and Site Tab
Collaborate Tab, View Tab, Manage Tab, Modify Tab and Contextual Tab.

You probably already know Daniel from his pretty extensive Revit collection of books. You already know Jeff too assuming you've read any of the help documentation or watched the training videos Autodesk provides online. That's been his focus for many years now working for Autodesk.

SDC Publications, their publisher, offers the book via eBooks using Apple iBooks ($39.99), Google Play Books ($42.40) or RedShelf ($49.47). It is available in hard copy via Amazon USA print on demand ($84 on Amazon) or Amazon International options. They also offer training videos, via separate download, for those who purchase the book. The prices are those that I saw at the time when I followed the various link options for purchasing. Fwiw, the Redshelf link took quite awhile to load at first, subsequent tries loaded faster, though the fact that I've never visited their site before might be why.

An aside, I've warned Daniel that Jim Balding (The ANT Group) has long been suggesting to me, at least since 2003, just this sort of book ought to be written. He'll either be happy it exists now or sad that they've beaten him to it.

Congrats to Daniel for yet another book and to Jeff for his contributions as co-author. Starting a book is easy...finishing it and getting it published is no small thing.

Properties Palette and Project Browser are not Responsive

This issue tracks back at least a couple of years now but I've just been asked about it again the other day. People report that on occasion Revit refuses to acknowledge when you click on either the Project Browser or Properties Palettes. For example this thread at Autodesk's User Forum began in February 2014.

The suggested methods, in the thread, for fixing this issue include: Using Save As, Disabling Hardware Acceleration and clicking on the Help icon. One person posted that their screen went black first and then Revit crashed. That bit sounds like a graphics card/driver could be involved.

Those fixes resolved the situation but don't tell us specifically why it happened in the first place. Since it has not happened to me personally I can't say for sure why it happens either. I have heard that some errors generate a warning message that can get lost behind the Revit UI. Using ALT + Tab will allow you to cycle between open windows (applications) and you may find a message dialog lurking there. I wouldn't expect any part of Revit to be responsive as such. Interesting that users find that they can access the Help and Application menu (Big R) items despite the two windows being inaccessible.

Perhaps a reader has isolated the cause?